Monday, September 24, 2012

Gang leader pleads guilty to murder of Chinese sailors


Monday, 24 September 2012 13:33 Mizzima News   

The leader of a Burmese drug gang has plead guilty to the murder of 13 Chinese sailors on the Mekong River last year, and he expressed remorse to the victims and their families in court, in hope for leniency.

The court will pick a date for sentencing after a review of the case, said the Xinhua news agency on Friday.

On Thursday in court, Naw Kham denied plotting the attack. However, five other defendants all testified in court that Naw Kham was the gang's ringleader in the attack. The Kunming People’s Procuratorate charged the six suspects with intentional homicide, drug trafficking, kidnapping and hijacking.

Prosecutors presented evidence of the criminal offenses, including the six defendants' confessions, witness testimonies, DNA test results, and autopsy reports. Thirteen witnesses from Laos and Thailand testified in the trial on the basis of bilateral judicial assistance treaties. They were protected by the court, according to China's law and international practice.

All six defendants who were foreigners answered questions raised by the chief justice, judges, prosecutors, victims' relatives and lawyers during the trial, aided by translators.

The court also heard the trial of the related civil action in the case on Friday. Victims want civil compensation, but the court did not reveal the exact figures.

Naw Kham did not deny the evidence provided by the prosecutors on Friday, and he said he was willing to pay compensation, adding that he had $951,139.

Nie Tao, a Chinese police officer, said police from both China and Thailand exchanged views on the nine Thai soldiers who were allegedly involved in the case, Xinhua reported. Chinese and Thai police will continue to cooperate in the investigation into and prosecution of nine Thai soldiers, Nie said.

Police from China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand broke the Naw Kham crime ring up earlier this year in a joint operation after two Chinese ships were hijacked on Oct. 5, 2011, on the Mekong River.

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